How to Make a Good First Impression at Work (19 Ways)

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Woman shaking man’s hand

Making a good first impression at work should be your top priority. It is the foundation that will lead to an easier path at your new job. It doesn’t matter if you are an intern or someone older, everyone can benefit from making a good impression on their colleagues. 

In this post, we will share 19 ways you can do this. Implement all 19 and odds are that you will be someone everyone enjoys being around and working with.

Importance of Making a Good First Impression

We all know that first impressions are important. I’ll tell you why they are important in the workplace and how a good first impression will make things much better for you.

You’ll make friends which will make the days better

While in college, I had no idea how big of a deal this would mean to me in the workplace. Building relationships and having friends makes your days more enjoyable. It helps with your attitude and well-being, which uplifts your work too. Those who are happier and more comfortable perform better.

People will be more willing to work with you

If you get on people’s good side right away with a great impression, your colleagues will be more willing to work with you. Since they like and respect you, they will work with you, send you files you need, put you in contact with someone, and overall help you.

How to make a good first impression at work

Things will be easier for you

Ultimately, things will be easier for you at work if you start out by making a good impression. Who doesn’t want that?

You’ll build your network for future opportunities

Individuals always remember how they felt when they met someone. Either that person vibed with them or rubbed them the wrong way. If you make great first impressions, you’ll build relationships. Your network will expand and this can set you up with many opportunities down the line.

19 Ways to Make a Good First Impression at Work

19 ways to make a good first impression at work

1. Have confidence

We’ll start off the 19 ways with the first one of having confidence. Have confidence that you belong at the company and confidence in the way you carry yourself. 

You don’t want to be arrogant, but you want to show people you are confident where you are. You aren’t timid or insecure about yourself, your work, and your abilities.

Imposter syndrome is common to feel at the start of a position. You may think you are in way over your head. Know that a majority of people feel the same way when they start somewhere. Remind yourself why you are qualified and deserving of the role.

2. Introduce yourself and get to know everyone

Introduce yourself

When starting a new job, make it a mission to get to know everyone. This will help you in many ways:

  1. You’ll make a good impression by showing you are outgoing and willing to reach out to people.
  2. You have a chance to show your personality and friendliness to build camaraderie.
  3. You’ll understand who everyone is and what their role is in the company.
  4. You’ll need the cooperation and assistance of your colleagues to do your job. Befriending them will make them likelier to help you.

While getting to know people, don’t be the guy that only talks about work. Talk about their interests outside of work too.

3. Show respect

Show respect for those around you. You know what is respectful and what is not. Respect those from the entry-level employees up to the executives.

Never believe you are above showing respect for someone else, even if you have what you think is a prestigious title.

4. Start learning about the role, team, and company immediately

The hardest part of a job is the first month. In that month, everything is new to you and you are drinking from a firehose. Accept that the first month will be difficult, buckle down, and do what you need to do to get caught up to speed.

Learn all you can about the role, the team, and the company. If you can quickly become well-versed, you’ll impress those around you. They will notice your commitment and ability to learn quickly.

Doing this will help you perform your job better, which will also lead to making a better impression.

5. Say yes to all opportunities

Say yes

If you’re young, you are probably going to want to be a person that says yes to everything for at least the first year, but especially in the first 90 days. You are new to the company and need to prove yourself while sending the right message to your management.

You want to show that you are hardworking, willing to lend a hand, open-minded, and an overall good person. Saying no to things too early into your position could send negative messages.

Here are examples of scenarios you should say yes to:

  • Your boss asks for someone to take lead on a new project
  • A VP from a different department asks someone to track down a document for her
  • Your team asks you to go to a company event with them

Saying yes doesn’t just relate to work assignments. Say yes to opportunities to network and bond with your team too. If they want to go out for dinner and drinks, you should go.

6. Avoid stepping on anyone’s toes

Don’t step on anyone’s toes when you start at a new company. Your focus should be getting on everyone’s good side, not their bad side.

Be conscious of your actions. You don’t want to undercut anyone’s work, take their desk, offend anyone, etc.

7. Take initiative on your duties and projects

If you have already completed what has been asked of you, think of your duties and what can be done to help your team. Take initiative and be proactive. 

Do things on your own to make improvements. When you present your boss with your work, you’ll impress them with this behavior. Most employees do what they are asked because its the minimum to skate by. Go beyond and think ahead.

8. Arrive early and stay late (at least to start)

Working at desk

For the first few months, I would arrive earlier and leave later than you are supposed to. You’ll make a good impression by showing you are willing to go the extra mile and put in the hours.

It takes some time to know what the culture is like for a new company you join. Some may work from 9 to 5 and others 8 to 8. Arrive early and leave late until you get a sense on when people get to work and when they leave.

Note: If your hours are 9 to 5, don’t arrive exactly at 9 and leave exactly at 5. It’ll send the message that you are trying to be in the office as minimal as possible. This may be the case, but you do not want to show that during your start.

9. Have good grooming and hygiene

Some people notice the littlest of things about others. Areas this is true is in presentation, grooming, and hygiene. Hygiene should be obvious. Keep yourself clean and don’t come straight to the office when you just worked out for an hour. Get that shower in first.

For grooming, make sure you are always well-groomed. You don’t want to roll into the office looking disheveled. You are representing yourself, your team, and your company so take pride in how you put yourself together.

10. Dress clean and appropriately

Another area where people pick up on the little things is with how someone dresses. You don’t need to have the most expensive suit, shoes, or watch on. You just have to know the basics of the attire your office adheres to.

Does your office dress casual, business casual, or business professional? Whatever the dress code is, Google that dress code and learn how to put clean outfits together.

Note: If you have an eye for fashion and flash, refrain from overdoing it during your first 90 days in the office. You don’t want to show anyone up or appear that your are flexing on them. You don’t want to rub anyone the wrong way.

11. Have enthusiasm and be approachable

Man talking to woman

Attitude is probably the most closely watched aspect of the new person on a team. Your bosses and colleagues are looking at your behavior to see if you are a fit and if they will like you.

If they like you, you’ll have a much easier time. If they don’t like you, things will be tough, less fun, and you likely won’t last long.

To get on everyone’s good side, have authentic enthusiasm and always be approachable. Don’t groan or show the slightest dissatisfaction when being asked to do anything. Don’t show sarcasm or sass in your replies in person or over email.

12. Show proper workplace etiquette

Having proper workplace etiquette is the normal thing to do. You won’t impress anyone by showing proper etiquette because it is expected. However, you’ll quickly make a bad impression if you show poor workplace etiquette. Examples include:

  • Talking about controversial things
  • Taking credit for someone else’s work
  • Lying
  • Harassment
  • Talking behind people’s backs

Realize that you are a professional and there are different standards.

13. Impress with professional email etiquette

You can actually make a good impression with your email etiquette. As easy as emailing sounds, many people suck at them. 

Their writing, structure, and formatting could all use improvement. Some won’t care but some will. Maybe I have worked around too many sticklers, but email presentation is something I take seriously and I notice when others care about it.

Email is a form of communication and presentation. Don’t take it likely. If you send out a well-written and formatted email with proper etiquette, it will be noticed.

See our post on How to Write an Effective Professional Business Email

14. Firm handshakes

Firm handshake

Firm handshakes had to be mentioned somewhere in this list, right? It is the most common example of how to make a good first impression. Focus on having a firm handshake with everyone you are introduced to.

I know you know this, but make eye contact with the person and don’t hold the shake too long or too short.

15. Be conscious of your body language

This tip is another way to communicate through your behavior. Assume you are being judged and analyzed at all times. With this assumption, focus on exhibiting the right body language. You want to communicate that you are confident, interested, awake, and diligent.

You don’t want to be slouched at your desk resting your head on your palms. You want to be upright and alert.

Be conscious of your body language during these scenarios:

  • Meetings
  • Lunches
  • At your desk
  • Walking the halls

16. Listen attentively

Being a good listener will help you make a positive first impression. Everyone wants to be heard and no one wants to repeat themselves. When someone is speaking, listen to what they are saying and engage with them to let them know you are understanding.

17. Represent your team and company well in public

Group talking at work

As an employee of a company, you are a representative for them when you are in public. Be someone your team and company is proud to show off. 

Make a great impression by carrying yourself well at public lunches, meetings, and conferences. You don’t want to be someone the team avoids associating with outside of the office.

As you move up the corporate ladder, you’ll have more interactions with third parties outside of the company. These can be clients, investors, and business partners. If you show that you represent the company well, your team will know you can handle promotions in the future.

18. Be authentic

Always be authentic. People will see right through any fakeness. You want to do your job and anything you can for the team, but don’t take it so far that you look like a kiss-ass and a try-hard.

No one likes these people in the office, trust me. Be authentic. People will sense your authenticity or lack thereof.

19. Add to the atmosphere, don’t take away from it

Ultimately, to make a good first impression, you’ll want to show that you are someone that adds to the work atmosphere. You don’t want to be someone that takes away from it. What does that mean?

Work is work and most people would rather be spending their time doing something else. Since people have to work to make a living, they want to do so in the best atmosphere as possible. One that is upbeat, fun, welcoming, and safe.

If your actions and behaviors help create that, everyone will enjoy being around you. On the other hand, if you are someone that makes the atmosphere depressing or difficult, you’ll make a bad impression and no one will want to be around you.

As you go through your day, ask yourself if you are adding positivity to your work environment.

Summary

Making a good first impression at work is extremely important and shouldn’t be overlooked. By making good impressions, you are setting yourself up for your time at the new company.

Utilize the 19 ways we shared to impress and fit in nicely at the new job. Good luck to you!

Make a good first impression at work
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Author: Brandon Hill

Brandon is the creator of Bizness Professionals and author behind each post. He is currently a working professional, primarily in finance, and looks to provide resources to aspiring or current young professionals for well-rounded professional and personal development. Find out more on the About page.

There may be affiliate links on this page, which means I may receive a small commission for any purchases made through links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Products that are linked are ones I highly recommend and have used/tested myself.

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